Monday, April 18, 2011

For Miami-Dade County Mayor, the best choice for people is Carlos Gimenez ... by gimleteye and Geniusofdespair

A fast election approaches to fill the vacancy in the strong mayor position due to recall. The question to voters: who is best qualified to build a bridge from the mayor's office to the county commission? There are two principal competitors: the mayor of Hialeah, Julio Robaina, and Carlos Gimenez, who resigned from his position on the county commission to run for mayor.

Robaina supported the Marlins Stadium, another wasteful investment of county resources in a time of economic crisis. Although this puts him on the right side of the commission, Robaina is on the wrong side of voters. Rightly, the Marlins Stadium deal is a litmus test for the Miami Dade electorate. Robaina now denies that he supported the stadium. He has also recently turned up in a series of Miami Herald reports, connected to the same insider dealing that binds him to a failed mayor: Alex Penelas. At EOM, the blog that counts the grains of sand for signs of contamination, Robaina sets off our political geiger counter.

We have watched Carlos Gimenez over the years navigate the turbulence of the county commission. More than any sitting commissioner, on crucial issues Gimenez is more often than not the sober voice of reason compared to fellow commissioners. Gimenez, for example, was clear in his opposition to the Marlins deal. This is not a time to throw a newbie in the mix. With deep experience, Gimenez has the important attribute of someone who knows not just how the devil is buried in the details, but also, where.

Along this line-- where the devils are buried-- we are concerned that Robaina, if chosen by voters in the May special election, will trigger a return to the cronyism honed in Hialeah politics where Cuban American development interests who live in gated communities elsewhere invest in Hialeah to elect candidates dedicated to the conversion of the public interest to private profit, whether in contracts for Miami International Airport or votes to change farmland and wetlands into more suburban sprawl. We experienced it ad nauseum during the years of Alex Penelas, when the 29th Floor resembled a Mideast souk where a thousand vendors owned by a few lobbyists trolled at the gateway for business. Although the economy has substantially hobbled the degree of proverbial cattle theft, recent bills in the state legislature-- showing public protections eviscerated willy-nilly to "create jobs" -- portend that Floridians will be led to pay for the same old patterns of unsustainable growth like cows funneled from feedlot to chute. Although the public deeply mistrusts government, it often does so without understanding underlying dynamics: shifting the costs of growth to future generations, allowing unfunded deficits to pile up in the billions that either need to be addressed by higher taxes or commit current taxpayers to a declining quality of life. We believe Carlos Gimenez is best qualified of the candidates to keep these dissonances in mind, while trying to steer a $7.5 billion budget and a chronically misaligned county commission.

Carlos Gimenez' record is being compared by the Robaina camp to former mayor Carlos Alvarez, particularly in terms of background in service as head of a government agency charged with public safety. With all due respect, Carlos Gimenez has much deeper experience in government management and supervision, including attention to detail and budgeting acumen at the municipal level.

To be elected mayor, Gimenez has carefully avoided political philosophies. He is a pragmatist and has made clear that he is not going to wander off the conservative reservation. His website states: "As County Mayor, Carlos Gimenez will continue to promote the principles that have been central to his public service career: lower taxes and smaller government." The question is: how to balance the burden fairly. This task is vastly complicated by the county commission. On balance Carlos Gimenez has the best skills of any candidate for mayor to navigate the county commission and, more importantly, to supervise the county manager, whoever is chosen to fill the vacancy. Carlos Gimenez is best qualified to provide calm, open and transparent leadership to restore public trust in county government. For this reason, we support Carlos Gimenez for Miami Dade County Mayor.
Eye On Miami Endorses Carlos Gimenez for Miami Dade County Mayor


Geniusofdespair said...

May I add one example of Gimenez's management skills/decisions. Gimenez appointed Kim Ogren to the Planning Advisory Board where most appointees are POLITICAL - knowing little about planning. Kim is an ACTUAL trained planner.

She has 15 years of planning experience, having worked for the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Monroe County Growth Managment Division as well as the DEP. Kim has a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning.

This appointment says a lot about Gimenez. He is smart to tap into the best resources to find advisors to help him lead. It indicates he appreciates the complexities involved in governing in the best interest of the county’s social, environmental and economic prosperity. I expect the same will be true if he is in the mayoral seat. He will surround himself with the right people, not a bunch of lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

Good Call. I agree with you both.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated.

Anonymous said...


The Mayor shall serve as head of the county government with the following specific powers and responsibilities:
A. The Mayor shall be responsible for the man- agement of all administrative departments of the County government and for carrying out policies ad- opted by the Commission. The Mayor, or such other persons who may be designated by the Mayor, shall execute contracts and other instruments, and sign bonds and other evidences of indebtedness. The May- or shall serve as the head of the County for emergency management purposes.
B. The Mayor shall have the right to attend and be heard at any regular or special open session meeting of the Commission, but not the right to vote at such meetings.
C. The Mayor shall appoint the County Manager unless such appointment is disapproved by a two-thirds majority of those Commissioners then in office at the Com- mission’s next regularly scheduled meeting. The Mayor shall have the authority to dismiss the County Manager.
D. Unless otherwise provided by this Charter, the Mayor shall have the power to appoint all department directors of the administrative departments of the County. Appointment of these department directors shall become effective unless disapproved by a two-thirds majority of those Commissioners then in office at the Commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting. The Mayor shall also have the right to suspend, reprimand, remove, or discharge any administrative department director, with or without cause.
E. The Mayor shall within ten days of final adoption by the Commission, have veto authority over any legislative, quasi-judicial, zoning, master plan or land use decision of the Commission, including the budget or any particular component contained therein which was approved by the Commission; provided, however, that (1) if any revenue item is vetoed, an expenditure item in the same or greater dollar amount must also be vetoed and (2) the Mayor may not veto the selection of the chairperson or vice-chairperson of the commission, the enactment of commission committee rules, the formation of commission committees, or the appointment of members to commission committees. The Commission may at its next regularly scheduled meeting after the veto occurs, override that veto by a two-thirds vote of the Commissioners present.
F. The Mayor shall prepare and deliver a report on the state of the county to the people of the county between November 1 and January 31 annually. Such report shall be prepared after consultation with the Commissioners.
G. The Mayor shall prepare and deliver a budgetary address annually to the people of the county in March. Such address shall set forth the Mayor’s funding priorities for the County.

Anonymous said...

Carlos Gimenez is a good and honorable man. There is no doubt about his integrity or his capability to be Mayor.

The Gimenez issue is the one you touched on in your endorsement. Gimenez spent his entire career in the public sector. His world view is narrowly defined by this experience making him very similar to Carlos Alvarez in this respect. Both are products of the culture of the bureaucracy.

Putting in another Mayor whose only work experience is in the public sector is a mistake.

The Miami Herald is making a big deal about Robaina's loans but I've read all the stories and do not see a smoking gun. What I see is a borrower who is smearing a lender to avoid paying back the money.

Geniusofdespair said...

Please refrain from pushing your candidate ON OUR ENDORSEMENT blog. Wait for another day.

P.S. Robaina's loans are a very big deal to the bloggers here. Especially as he was engaged in this activity while holding public office, and some of the loans were given to people doing business with the government he represented. A man with $8 Million dollars did not have to have outside deals going on all the while he was Mayor.

Anonymous said...

What I like about Carlos is his ability to filter out the ponderous and droning staff comments when they are merely protecting the administration.
He has a sharp mind and a good staff who are at the top of their game.

He protects the people's interests like no other commissioner. I didn't know about the planner he put on the planning board. Obviously, this was a correct call because Carlos is not intimidated by experts which causes panic among the other commissioners who fear losing control of the process.

Anonymous said...

I would take issue that someone in the private sector would be better placed in the Mayor's position. I think this is one of those false dialogues going on out there.

My Republican father said you could always trust a poor Republican. There were a few of them in the Congress at the time we had this discussion and he use to point out their net worth.

To be a good leader in the public sector, you need to be willing to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself. It takes sacrifice and statesmanship. Statesmanship does not mean that you cannot balance a budget or be fiscally responsible. All you have to do is talk to missionaries to realize that the poorer you are, the better you are with managing your pennies.

As for statesmanship, I tend to look at character. This is the currency that I prefer to deal in. I believe that Gimenez has character. As for Robaina, I do not know him, but I am gravely concerned by what I have read. Regardless of whether is is guilty to the depth of public accusations, I cannot say. However, there usually is a thread of truth that runs these types of accusations. With this candidate, the accusations have surrounded him for years.

(I am not working for either candidate...just so you know).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your choice.

Carlos Gimenez 1s the right person at the right time; the next thirty-five days to election day will be of most importance to the Miami-Dade County future.

What has happen in Miami-Dade County for the past few years is unsustainable and Carlos Gimenez is the right person to take the reigns of leadership, accountability and transparency in county government.

Voter turn out is the key to getting Carlos Gimenez elected, we need to get involve in order to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Best choice in a crowded field.

Anonymous said...

I like Gimenez and believe he is entirely capable of serving as Mayor. The notion that he is uniquely qualitified to "navigate the commission" is a bit off the mark, though. His legislative ship usually went agound. In the future, he might be able to steer policy through the commission by using the extraordinary powers of the office of mayor. But he is going to need fair winds and following seas.

Anonymous said...

If we don't vote for Carlos Gimenez we will end up with Julio Robaina TBO (the bad one).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations you are the first news outlet to endorse him.

Geniusofdespair said...

Llorente supporter-- read my comment a few above.

Maurice said...


I don't agree with you on many issues, but on Gimenez we can both find common ground. I just want to see someone honest in the mayor's seat, and by all accounts Gimenez is an honest guy with integrity.

Anonymous said...

Come out for an event to meet Carlos Gimenez at Mr. Moe's in Coconut Grove on Wednesday 5:30 ~ 7:00.

SayHoss! said...

I agree 100% with your endorsement. Carlos Gimenez is the only candidate who can clean up our corrupt inept county government and that is what we need to reduce our property taxes in these dire times of people losing their homes. I can't even believe that some folks think Robaina would make a good mayor for this county.

milly herrera, hialeah said...

Many of us in Hialeah have decided to vote for Gimenez, because we know too well that Robaina is the worst choice.

Robaina is a wolf in a sheep's skin. Behind his silly smile is an authoritative, hypocrite figure, in politics and in business for himself.

We believe that Carlos Gimenez is our only hope at making sure that Robaina does not occupy the position of county mayor.

Anonymous said...

Gimenez seems to be the lesser of the two front-running evils...

Where in the blazes are the viable So. Fla. Democratic candidates?!

Anonymous said...

Carlos Gimenez has the skills required to be Mayor of Miami-Dade Couonty. As far as Robaina, follow the money.

Frank Rollason said...

Come out and meet Carlos Gimenez at the newly remodeled historic New Yorker Motel on Biscayne Boulevard and 65th Street at 7:00pm on Thursday, May 12th hosted by Fran and Frank Rollason.

Anonymous said...

Carlos Giminez will be joining us along with the rest of the candidates at Champions of Equality where we will honor the ACLU of Florida, the law firm of Greenberg and Traurig and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz this friday May 20. Please join us from 6-9:30 at The Ice Palace. More info at

Anonymous said...

i believe that gimenez is not as honest as people think, his son does a lot of lobbying and has been saying around town that his father is next mayor so 500 an hour is reasonable for his time and his CONNECTIONS.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say, Gimenez is the good one and he should be the winner. If this community wants a crook, well then vote with the Hialeah guy who has maquinitas for profit and loan shark. Take it to the next level - Gimenez is a known government expert.